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Extension > Extension Retiree Newsletter

Friday, March 23, 2018

Dean's Column (March 2018)

Dear Extension retirees,

Some of my favorite events each year are the summer retiree lunches with you. It’s a wonderful opportunity to hear about what’s happening in your lives and to share with you the latest Extension news and initiatives.

This year’s events will again take place in Northwest Minnesota and in the Twin Cities. I hope you can join me. A postcard with full details will be mailed in April, but here are the dates and locations:

Northwest Minnesota: Tuesday, July 10, 12-2 p.m., Best Western The Lodge on Lake Detroit
Twin Cities: Thursday, July 26, 12-2 p.m., Midland Hills Country Club, Roseville

Please RSVP to Wan Tansatit, Extension development office, at (612) 624-7971 or with your name and the luncheon location you will be attending.

Bev Durgan

New Extension regional directors

Lori Vicich began her position of regional director, St. Cloud Regional Office, on Jan. 29. Lori had been director of corporate communications services for Xcel Energy. She works directly with regional directors Sarah Chur (Andover) and Tammy McCulloch (Farmington) and will have regional director responsibility for Benton, McLeod, Meeker, Stearns and Wright counties.

On Jan. 11, Lisa Dierks joined the southeast region as Extension regional director in Rochester. She will work with LuAnn Hiniker (Mankato) and have regional director responsibility for Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmstead, Wabasha and Winona counties. Lisa previously held a management role with Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Source magazine spring issue on its way this month

All Extension retirees receive a subscription to Source magazine, which comes out twice a year. The spring 2018 issue will land in your mailbox by the end of March. Here are some of the stories you can look forward to reading:

  • Taking the plunge takes readers to Itasca County to meet two new volunteers bringing a neighborly approach to the fight against aquatic invasive species.
  • Upward and onward introduces you to youth who would be considered underserved if not for their involvement in 4-H. Highlighted youth are Alondra, a recent immigrant from Mexico living in Dodge County, and Precious, a girl learning leadership as a part of 4-H in partnership with the White Earth Tribal Community College.
  • Green tomatoes take the cake tells the story of Master Gardener volunteers inspiring kids in north Minneapolis to start a healthy desserts business called the Green Garden Bakery.
  • Bee Veterans shares ways that men and women who have served their country find community and connectedness in beekeeping through the University of Minnesota Bee Squad.

Extension Highlights keeps you up to date with timely stories

One year ago, Extension Communications and Public Relations launched the Extension Highlights website to share more stories from across Minnesota and across topic areas. You don’t need to wait for Source magazine to learn what is happening in Extension. Please visit Extension Highlights for timely stories in your areas of interest and your region. You can also keep informed and inspired by following Extension’s Facebook page.

Volunteers launch crowdfunding effort for Tesmer Farm Safety Day Camp

Each May, Extension coordinates the Tesmer Farm Safety Day Camp for youth in Fillmore and Houston counties to experience potentially life-saving lessons on farm and ag safety. The program is named for long-time Extension educator Jerry Tesmer, who championed farm safety in his teaching to youth and adults. Jerry began the program in collaboration with community members 25 years ago.

Volunteers in Houston and Fillmore Counties have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise dollars for this program in honor of Jerry. If you'd like to learn more or make a contribution, visit

Awards and Accomplishments (March 2018)

Congratulations to the following Extension faculty and staff receiving awards in the past four months:

Brad Carlson, Extension crops educator, Mankato Regional Office, received the Minnesota Corn Growers Association’s annual Friend of Agriculture award. He was honored at the Minnesota Ag Expo in Mankato for his commitment to helping Minnesota farmers build upon their land stewardship while maintaining productive operations. Carlson worked with the corn growers, leading development of the Nitrogen Smart program to elevate environmental care and crop productivity.

David Nicolai, Extension crops educator from Regional Office in Farmington, was presented with the Friend of Ag award by the McLeod County Corn and Soybean Growers Association.

Amy Rager, Extension educator in fish, wildlife, conservation education in the Morris Regional Office, was awarded for Excellence in Volunteer Program Development by the Minnesota Association of Volunteer Administration. Amy is the State Program Director for the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program and spearheaded the development of a volunteer life cycle model that illustrates the connection between volunteer motivation, training and support.

Megan Roberts, Extension educator in agricultural business management, Mankato Regional Office, received first place in the discussion meet contest at the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers competitions. Contestants were judged on their basic knowledge of critical farm issues and their ability to exchange ideas and information in a setting aimed at cooperative problem solving.

Cassandra Silveira, Extension educator, health and nutrition, was appointed to the newly created Health Equity Advisory and Leadership Council (HEAL). HEAL was established by the Minnesota Commissioner of Health to address health disparities in the state.

Welcome new retirees (March 2018)

Roger E. Dahmen served as a community nutrition educator in Hennepin County for 35 years. His focus was teaching youth who were living at or below the poverty line. He expanded this work to Minneapolis public schools and integrated nutrition education into summer school programs. He retired Jan. 5

Milan J. Drewlow, Wilkin County 4-H program coordinator, retired Dec. 21. His innovative programs created a culture that focused on high quality youth-led programming, a site-based 4-H program at a boy’s transitional care home and partnerships with local businesses.

Michael J. Liepold, Extension educator, leadership and civic engagement, retired Nov. 6. During Mike’s 33 years of service, his accomplishments included the development of the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program, the U-Lead Advisory Academy, and the international effort to bring leadership education to Morocco.

Lynette M. Lothert, executive office and administrative specialist, Morris Regional Office, provided dedication and service to the fish, wildlife and conservation team, and statewide Master Naturalist volunteers. She retired in December after eight years of service.

Judy Meyers retired Dec. 5 from her position as an educator with the Extension Children, Youth and Family Consortium. Judy was a strong leader for public engagement projects and a facilitator between higher education and Minnesota community members.

Glenyce Peterson-Vangsness, Extension educator, Mankato Regional Center, retired on Dec. 4 after 39 years of service. Her career included many roles and most recently as an educator in food safety, where she built partnerships with internal and external collaborators to educate parents, children and the public.

Mark W. Seeley retired in February after 40 years as an Extension climatologist. Mark made science “understandable,” raised awareness of climate change, and spoke to many audiences on how citizenship and science can unite us.

Kim R. Swanson, office manager for the Pennington County Extension office, retired Dec.15. Her 35 years of service included conference planning, garden tours, county fair displays and serving on a committee to redesign the Minnesota State Fair registration process.

Van E. Swanson served as the 4-H program director for Marshall and Pennington counties for 28 years and retired on Dec. 15. His contributions and commitment to 4-H provided leadership skills for older youth through service opportunities as camp counselors, teen teachers, and club and county officers.

Chee X. Yang, Ramsey County community nutrition educator for the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, retired Jan. 2. For nearly 30 years, she taught countless families about the importance of nutrition, physical activity and food safety, working in homes and low-income communities.
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